To this day, some of my mom’s favorite Valentines were the coupon books I made for her many years ago. From free hugs to feeding my cats, the handmade coupons were stashed in my box of crafty creations once they were redeemed. Now, my mom knew exactly what was in store with a quick flip-through. But you can create your own “mystery” Valentine coupons – thanks to a scratch-off solution that’s easy to whip up right in the kitchen. Publications like Better Homes and Gardens and Martha Stewart Weddings are having a blast with this technique, and I bet your Valentine crafters will, too!
- Coupon templates (click on PDF image to the right)
- Silver metallic acrylic paint (I used Martha Stewart Decorative Arts Paint with Plaid, available at Michaels)
- Dish soap (try original-formula Dawn; stay away from soaps with scents or anti-bacterial formulas)
- Paint dish for mixing
- Red card stock
- Fine-tip black Sharpie marker
- Valentine decorations of your choice
- Paper towels
- Print out (or make) your coupon templates. When using card stock, feed one piece through the printer at a time to avoid paper jams. Once you have the desired amount, cut them all out – except for the extra paper on the left-hand side. (We’ll use that for stapling room at the end.)
- In the dotted box on the coupon, use your Sharpie to write down the gift. Maybe you want to give your mom and dad five kisses at bedtime each night. Or what about keeping your room clean? Make as many coupons as you like.
- Next, it’s time to make the scratch-off solution. Put two squirts of paint into a mixing dish. Then, add a squirt of dish soap. Mix with your paintbrush.
- Take your paintbrush and apply a generous, even layer of solution to the surprise box on the coupon. You don’t want the surprise to show through, so if you can see the letters, add more solution. Set the coupon aside to dry.
- As the coupons are drying, it’s time to make the cover. Cut out a piece of card stock (any color you like) the same size as your coupons.
- Add stickers, drawings and artsy flair. Be sure to write “Happy Valentine’s Day” on the front!
- When the coupons are dry and the cover is set, stack the paper together and staple the left end with two staples.
- Now, just wrap up your present for the big day. Include a coin so that, when it’s time to open the book, your Valentine can scratch-off the paint to see their surprise!
Once you’ve mastered the art of mystery coupons, make another batch of scratch-off solution to craft a personalized flower arrangement for Valentine’s Day morning! The only additional supplies you’ll need are a pint glass, different colors of card stock, tape and pipe cleaners.
- Trace the top of a pint glass on red card stock. Cut those circles out and set aside.
- Flip the glass over and trace the bottom of the glass on pink (or any color) card stock. In these circles, write a secret message or draw silly pictures with your marker. Paint over the drawings with solution and let dry. Cut out the red circles.
- To make leaves, cut out different-size triangles from a piece of green card stock. With your pipe cleaner, place the leaves on top and tape the back to the stem.
- When the paint is dry, cut out the surprise circles and tape to the big red circles. Place at the top of the pipe cleaner and tape the back.
- After you’ve made as many flowers as you like, place them in a vase – or recycle and try a pop bottle! Again, include a coin so the mystery art can be revealed.